Speak Out For Farmland and Open Space Preservation in Lower Milford

bogturtle“Not in my backyard.”

It’s a saying that has its own acronym (“NIMBY”), and one that’s often used to signify a knee-jerk reaction to the idea of something new being built in your corner of the world.

It’s not really used as a compliment. We equate NIMBYism with the idea that these folks don’t care where something disruptive goes, as long as it’s not near them.

What do we call it when we see something that’s not in our backyard, but still affects us?

Take the Geryville Materials quarry project in Lower Milford Township. If you live in, say, Bethlehem or Bangor or Emmaus, it may not mean much to you.

But it should, especially if you care about things like preserving farmland and open space.

For as far back as anyone can remember, Lower Milford Township supervisors have made a commitment to preserving farmland.

For more than a decade, Lower Milford and the quarry project have been locked in a legal battle over the company’s plans to mine rock at the property.

Tonight, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection will hold a hearing on the 127 acre project from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the township headquarters, 7607 Chestnut Hill Church Road in Coopersburg.

To speak at the hearing, contact DEP Community Relations Coordinator Colleen Connolly, at DEP’s Northeastern Regional Office, coconnolly@pa.gov or at 570-826-2035. You’ll also be able to register on the day of the hearing.

If you can’t attend the hearing, you can share your comments in writing. Send them to:

Mike Kutney, P.G.

Pottsville District Mining Office

5 West Laurel Blvd., Pottsville, PA 17901

No matter where you live, if you are a supporter of farmland preservation or preserving the environmental integrity of region, we recommend that you mark your calendars and plan on attending this meeting or write a letter.

Why is it important for you to go to give the DEP your input?

First, the quarry site is at the top of Mill Hill, one of Lehigh County’s last highland nodes, with over 600 acres of contiguous woodlands and wetlands.

According to a Morning Call article from June 2005, the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission has said the quarry site is close to an area called Big Beaches that is considered a region of ecological importance statewide. Citizens of Lower Milford Township have been organizing against the quarry and for the preservation of this land.

The Appalachian Mountain Club lists the region as one of Pennsylvania’s “critical treasures.” Bog turtles —  considered threatened by development by the federal Endangered Species Act — and a number of kinds of breeding trout have been found on or near the site.

The township has more than 3,000 acres of preserved farmland, hundreds of which are adjacent to the proposed quarry. It’s also next to a working farm.

For all these reasons, this project affects more than just Lower Milford Township.

Attend the hearing. Speak out. Talk to your elected and appointed leadership about your support of farmland preservation.

It’s not a matter of “my backyard.” It’s OUR backyard.

Posted on June 3, 2015, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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